When Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment at Fox, met with journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour on Friday, the first topic of conversation wasn’t new reality competition “X-Factor” or even the giant push the network is putting behind dinosaur drama “Terra Nova.” Critics wanted to know what the heck was going on with “Glee.”
“Well, I was extremely upset myself to learn about this on Twitter, and I’m kidding,” Reilly said, referencing recent reports about cast firings and a “Glee” spinoff that seemed to originate on the social networking site. “I actually can laugh about it because I think it’s taken on a little more heated momentum than it, in fact, is,” he added.
So where does the series stand? Here’s what “Glee” fans need to know:
Warring cast? Not this one
“As you well know, there are many successful shows on the air that have genuine controversy, fighting,” Reilly said. “That has really not been the case on this show. It is a good group of people. Personalities always have difficulty. And I think that [creator] Ryan [Murphy] and his group of associates there, do a phenomenal job managing that every day.”
A spin-off is still a possibility
“The spin-off was in the wind and still is in the wind,” Reilly said of a rumored series that would take graduating characters Kurt (Chris Colfer), Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel (Lea Michele) and follow them at college in NYC. “We haven’t said we’re not doing it,” Reilly insisted. “We talked about it last season. Ryan and I were discussing it. I can tell you that Ryan did talk to all the actors about it. I think the public nature of it took everybody by surprise. Ryan himself has said he probably regrets talking about it at that point, because in the interim, we had decided to really focus on this year.”
So how did the spin-off story grow into controversy?
“Ryan is a creative force,” Reilly insisted. “I have never seen anybody that can take an idea from concept to fruition in a quicker turnaround in a more dynamic way than Ryan Murphy. When that spin-off came around, I think his wheels started turning, looking ahead. … And I think in the middle of Ryan’s creativity, this got out, and I think the second it did, all of us were just a little surprised about how it took on a life of its own. This is something that was probably a two-day issue that somehow has taken on a bigger life. And I think it’s going to really play itself out when you see the work this season and see how focused and good it is.”
“Back to basics” this season
“I sat down with [executive producer] Brad [Falchuk] and Ryan and talked about this season’s arc, and — I was not to bust any of my associates, but I can say my two cohorts at Fox who were with me were sort of fighting back tears at one point, but tears of joy in terms of how good the stories are and some of the emotional stuff they had. The season feels so focused this year. You’re going to see a back to basics year this year.”
What that means: A greater focus on the main characters with fewer “special” episodes.
“There’s not going to be any big guest stars. There’s not going to be any tribute numbers. We’re focusing on our core characters and relationships,” Reilly said.
Yes, characters are leaving McKinley High
“There will be a graduation at the end,” Reilly said. “We know the three characters that will be graduating [Kurt, Finn and Rachel]. How that’s going to play out, I’m not going to say. There are going to be surprises. It is not going to be predictable.”
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